Spotlight on Games > 1001 Nights of Military Gaming

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Unconditional Surrender
John Southard-designed American Civil War game about the battle outside Fort Donelson, Tennessee, on February 16, 1862. This was the battle which really launched Grant's career. Rules include zones of control (in the two front hexes only), line of sight rules and army morale. Union setup is face down including six dummy counters so there is considerable variability. More is introduced with variable reinforcements. Victory seems to depend on how the eastern salient goes. [summary]
Up Front
Card game about World War II small unit ground combat. Cards are somewhat colorless and the gameplay doesn't really adhere very much to the theme as numerous inconsistencies can be pointed out, but may be appealing as a simple game for those interested in the topic.
U.S. Patent No. 1
Game about a competition to be the first to patent a time machine features the kind of silly concept which has become synonymous with Cheapass Games. But what we never imagined we'd say about this company is now true: the artwork, here of Victorian-era-inspired time machines and gadgets, is wonderful. I don't know if these were mined from old books or created just for the game, but in some sense it does not matter as either way they reflect a marvelous aesthetic sensibility. As for gameplay, designer James Ernest's ideas seem to have been improved by co-author Falko Goettsch as play is a cut above the standard fare for this publisher. There are plenty of strategic and tactical options as well as a lot of ability for players to affect one another, even including weapon attacks. Admittedly these are unchecked and with the wrong group, some unfortunate might find himself hacked to pieces, so players should be carefully chosen. Although the endgame is an accurate reflection of the theme, it can become frustratingly unending as players simply lurk about the patent office knocking one another office. When someone wins, it may seem more a lucky break than culmination of a long-planned strategy.
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